The last business standing in the way of redeveloping the old Rolling Acres Mall is moving out.

The Akron City Council met Tuesday in special session to rezone the former Macy’s at Chapel Hill Mall as Storage of America moves across town to make way for the mystery redevelopment of Rolling Acres.

The Salt Lake City-based self-storage company had used the vacant Target at Rolling Acres, plus a detached front office along Romig Road, for the storage needs of Akron-area residents. In July, a developer signed purchase agreements for all eight parcels surrounding the old Target with the intent to bulldoze what’s left of the shopping complex to erect a 100,000-square-foot facility to employ 500 workers. The $100 million development will be used by a company promising $30 million in annual payroll when the operation is fully functional.

All indications point to an e-commerce distribution center, with some evidence suggesting Amazon behind the deal. But property owners selling to the developer, including the city, have been sworn to secrecy.

With Storage for America headed to Chapel Hill, the redevelopment of Rolling Acres is moving forward. Thomas Fitzpatrick, vice president of the storage company’s development office, said he could “neither confirm or deny” that the Romig Road location would close when remodeling is completed at the old Macy’s in Chapel Hill in January, giving only two months to fix a broken freight elevator, install signage and keypad entryways and ready the hull of the store’s two floors for 949 storage containers ranging from 25 to 300 square feet.

Fitzpatrick told the council Tuesday that the west entrance of the old Macy’s, which faces Buchholzer Road, could be demolished and replaced with a garage door, allowing customers to drive their goods into the climate-controlled facility. Storage for America would come back to the council to have structural plans approved for that subsequent upgrade. A nearby credit union will serve as the storage outfit's customer counter.

The storage locations in Chapel Hill and Rolling Acres will be open simultaneously, at least long enough to move everything over. Fitzpatrick said he wasn’t “at liberty” to disclose any operational details. Others who have sold to the mystery developer are under contractual agreements to keep quiet about the Romig Road redevelopment deal, which is slated to receive 30 years of property tax breaks in exchange for the influx of jobs and income tax revenue.

 

Reach Doug Livingston at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com.